Legendary Actress and Activist Helped Focus the World’s Attention, Compassion on Those Suffering From HIV/AIDS
Apr 01 2011
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate last night passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (both D-CA) honoring the life and legacy of world-renowned actress and activist Elizabeth Taylor, who passed away on March 23, 2011.
Senator Boxer said, “While widely acclaimed for her career on stage and screen, Elizabeth Taylor’s most important role was as a bold and passionate leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Her dedicated efforts helped educate the public and lawmakers about the need for research, treatment and compassion for those suffering from the disease. She will forever be remembered as an American icon whose activism and dedication made life better for millions of people all across the world.”
Senator Feinstein said, “Elizabeth Taylor was a Hollywood icon, but more importantly, she was a humanitarian and a philanthropist who spoke passionately about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the toll on her fellow citizens when very few dared to speak out. California has lost one of its greatest stars. I’ll always remember her performance in National Velvet, a film which led to my childhood love of horses. Elizabeth was one of the greats. Her passion for life and devotion to those less fortunate will continue to inspire me and others.”
Elizabeth Taylor was born on February 27, 1932 and moved with her family to California just prior to the start of World War II. She began acting at age 10 and quickly became a successful and sought-after actress in film, television and theater. Throughout her career she received five Academy Award nominations and won the Best Actress award twice for her work in BUtterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. The first film actress ever to earn a seven-figure paycheck, numerous films featuring Taylor are considered classics, including A Place in the Sun, Raintree Country, Giant and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Later in life, Taylor worked to raise awareness of the debilitating effects of HIV/AIDS at a time when little about it was known and its victims were often shunned. She was named the founding national chairman for the American Foundation for AIDS Research and later established the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation to provide direct support for those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Taylor also testified before Congress and showed the compassion she had called for by publicly holding the hand of her friend and former costar, Rock Hudson, after he announced that he had AIDS.
Taylor is survived by her children Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton, as well as 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.